Two Mizzou swimmers selected to U.S. National Team
COLUMBIA - Two of MU's top athletes were selected for the 2015-2016 USA Swimming National Team. To qualify, swimmers had to produce a top six time nationally in their respective race, in any sanctioned meet between January first and August tenth of 2015.
Sophomore Hannah Stevens ranks fifth among U.S. swimmers in the 100 backstroke, with her fastest time being 1:00.04. Junior Michael Chadwick ranks fifth in the 50 freestyle, at 22.03, and third in the 100 freestyle, at 48.87.
"It made it feel like everything was paying off, like this is the reason I do it," said Stevens.
Stevens is from Lexington, Ohio and comes from a family of athletes. She first fell in love with the sport in eighth grade, but it wasn't until high school that she realized what her future in swimming could be.
Going into her sophomore year of high school, Stevens just missed the cut for Olympic trials. That's when she took a step back and asked herself if she wanted to fully commit to swimming. She did, and went on to win a state championship her junior year.
Chadwick had a somewhat similar path. Chadwick is from Charlotte, North Carolina, and also comes from an athletic family. His dad played basketball at the University of North Carolina in the 70's. More recently, his older brother played basketball for Valparaiso University.
Growing up Chadwick always thought he would follow the family path and be a basketball player.
After being cut from the seventh grade basketball team however, Chadwick set his sights on the pool. "I was a decent swimmer, but that was the time I really changed my direction toward swimming," he said.
Years later, Stevens and Chadwick are both in the upper echelon of their sport, but not without countless hours of hard work and strenuous training.
"It's an idea called championship lifestyle," said Chadwick. "It's literally being all-in, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When you're in the pool, you're giving it everything you have. In the weight room, everything else is supporting swimming."
"You have to watch what you do outside of swimming, because everything comes back to affect you later," said Stevens. "It's just how you take care of your body, how much sleep you get, the things you eat, it's all related."
Both swimmers can now compete for the U.S. team in meets the rest of the year, but right now both are focused on the upcoming college season, as well as training to potentially compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
"Ultimately, the Olympic team is the pinnacle of our sport, and the pinnacle of success that we can achieve," said Chadwick. "So, if that's my calling for next year, I would love to be able to achieve that."
"Being able to represent your country for any athlete is probably the biggest honor you could ever have," said Stevens. "I want to keep going, I want to pursue this even more."
Stevens and Chadwick will both see their first action on October second, when MU swimming hosts the Show-Me-Showdown meet.